- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the retail giant will invest $1 billion towards “digitizing small and medium businesses” in India.
- Bezos said during the announcement on Wednesday that the most importance alliance of this century is going to be between India and the United States.
- His arrival in India was met by protesters who claim Amazon is driving small retailers out of business by undercutting them on price.
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Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos is currently on a trip to India and says he’s betting big on the country, even as thousands of local protesters wave placards saying: “Jeff Bezos Go Back!”
During a fireside chat on Wednesday at an Amazon India’s event in New Delhi, CEO Jeff Bezos announced a $1 billion investment into India on Wednesday. Bezos said the investment will be geared towards “digitizing small and medium businesses,” and that by 2025 Amazon aims to exporting $10 billion worth of Indian goods.
“I wanna make a prediction for you,” Bezos added. “I predict the 21st century is going to be the Indian century.”
“I’ll make one more prediction for you, in this 21st century the most important alliance is going to be the alliance between India and the United States. The world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” he added.
While Bezos’ comments were met with applause, he has not been given a unanimously warm welcome in India.
Thousands of small business owners in 300 cities around India have been protesting Bezos since his arrival in the country, saying Amazon has used its enormous size to undercut small businesses on price.
India also introduced new legislation in 2019, which banned retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart from exclusive tie-ups with sellers and from offering products in which they had a direct financial interest. When the new laws came into force, it resulted in thousands of products being pulled from Amazon and Flipkart’s virtual shelves.
And India remains a battleground for Amazon in terms of market share. The company faces fierce competition in India from Flipkart, though it’s close to overtaking the Walmart-owned Indian firm. According to Forrester, Flipkart had a larger market share than Amazon in 2018, with 31.9% versus Amazon’s 31.2%.
Both Amazon and Flipkart are also being hit with an antitrust investigation into whether they undercut small businesses on price.